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Safeguarding in mental health: towards a rights-based approach

The current adult safeguarding system is failing people with mental health problems. Despite the introduction of the Department of Health's No Secrets guidance in 2000, abuse is still widespread in private homes, the community, and health and social care settings. New research from Mind demonstrates the urgent need for a shift in focus towards a prevention model of safeguarding, with service user involvement at its core. Currently, people feel disempowered by and frustrated with a paternalistic system that labels them ‘vulnerable’ and fails to take account of their preferences in making decisions about their safety. This has led to a real lack of faith among people with mental health problems in current procedures to ensure their safety, which undermines the entire safeguarding project. Mind conducted survey and focus group research that highlights three key areas where adult safeguarding is failing people with mental health problems: the system disempowers individuals and excludes them from participating in decisions about their level of risk; there is a systemic lack of engagement with safeguarding by the NHS, meaning institutional abuse is widespread and unchecked; and discrimination at the heart of the criminal justice system means that people with mental health problems are being denied equal access to justice, which poses a risk to their human rights. In light of these findings, Mind is calling for a wholesale revision of the current approach to adult safeguarding towards a rights-based approach, which is underpinned by user involvement. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Adult Protection Pier Professional

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